By J.M Phelps of The Epoch Times
Implementing a new law to punish traffickers of fentanyl and declaring deaths from the drug as a health crisis could curb the damage it is doing to the country.
The Epoch Times spoke to Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) about the growing fentanyl crisis in the United States. The Republican lawmaker represents Louisiana’s 3rd congressional district, which includes Lafayette Parish. According to the local coroner, there were 32 drug-related deaths in 2015, and fentanyl was not associated with any of them. However, by 2021, the number of deaths rose to 136 and fentanyl was responsible for 101.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fentanyl is the driving force of a deadly nationwide epidemic. Preliminary data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that fentanyl was involved in 77 percent of overdose deaths in the United States in 2021, accounting for about 71,000 deaths.
“The fentanyl crisis the country is facing right now must be confronted at the local, state, and federal level,” Higgins said.
The country has to start working together, he said, adding that the nation needs to confront the border crisis and influx of fentanyl “without abusing law enforcement jurisdictional authority, without abusing sovereignty, [and] without abusing rights.”
“It all has to be done while operating within the parameters of the law and the Constitution,” said Higgins. Fentanyl trafficking, in particular, must be “attacked passionately and aggressively,” he added.
Title 42 Reinterpreted
The Biden administration had hoped to end Title 42 by the end of May. Title 42 was the Trump-era initiative put in place in March 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19, allowing illegal immigrants to be quickly turned away at the southern U.S. border rather than processed at immigration detention facilities under Title 8 immigration law.
However, a Texas judge recently blocked the cancellation of the public health order that has been used to expel illegal migrants.
While Higgins is pleased with the extension, he said it is time for a “reinterpretation of Title 42 within the parameters of the Constitution.” According to the lawmaker, “the fentanyl crisis can now be more effectively defined as a health crisis than the COVID pandemic.”
“With regard to Title 42 enforcement,” Higgins said, “the definition of health crisis needs to be expanded to include the fentanyl crisis, [because] overdoes are certainly a threat to the health of tens of thousands of people.”
Stop the Flood
Higgins said, “Something has to be done to fight against the fentanyl entering [the United States] through the southern border.”
“We have lost operational control of the southern border months ago, and fentanyl is entering the country at unprecedented levels—and there’s no end in sight,” he added.
Continue reading at Epoch Times
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